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[Media Release - MFAI] Yacht shelters in Aitutaki awaiting mechanical repairs

Government of the Cook Islands

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration

Thursday 25 May 2021, 16:00

Maritime Border Agencies received a distress call from the Yacht “Captain Nemo” on Monday evening advising mechanical breakdown. The Vessel, with two crew members, was travelling from Tahiti to New Zealand when it suffered mechanical damage to its autopilot and hydraulic steering system.

In compliance with the Cook Islands current closed maritime borders, the Vessel was granted approval to shelter just off the Arutanga passage whilst awaiting repairs assessment. Ongoing support has been provided by Ports Aitutaki to the 2 man crew of the vessel and it is likely the Vessel will be in Aitutaki for a further week as it awaits parts and support crew from NZ to support its onwards journey to NZ. During this time, in compliance with the Cook Islands health and border requirements, the crew will remain on board and Aitutaki Authorities will continue to monitor.

Similarly, on Monday last week Maritime Border Agencies together with Te Marae Ora (TMO) – Ministry of Health also provided support for a crew member of the “Yacht SV Del Mar” who had sustained injuries on their journey from French Polynesia to Australia.

Whilst Cook Islands Maritime borders remain closed, under International law, countries are obligated to render assistance to vessels in distress. Border agencies, working closely with TMO and where necessary, pa enua authorities continue to ensure COVID19 Border Standard Operating Procedures are complied with, in the case of these most recent vessels in distress requests, the Vessel and crew have remained offshore and there has been zero physical contact between crew and those onshore. Via the COVID19 Border Agencies Taskforce (CBAT), officials will continue liaison with Aitutaki Authorities and the vessel crew to ensure repair assistance is rendered to support onwards travel.

Over the last 5 months, Cook Islands Authorities received 6 maritime requests for entry and 2 distress calls for assistance. The 6 requests for entry were declined, the “SV Del Mar” received assistance whilst ensuring zero contact between crew and those onshore before it continued its journey on to Australia. “Captain Nemo” continues to be monitored and is expected to travel onwards to New Zealand within the next week or so once repairs have been undertaken.

Queries regarding this media release to Senior Immigration Compliance Officer, MFAI or phone 29 347


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